Paperback Release

One of the major projects I’ve been working on lately is releasing my novels in paperback.

I had originally planned to release the paperback for “Bully & Exit” last summer, but unfortunately, life got in the way.

It was still interfering last fall when I released “Connection” and by the time I did “Trust” I was scrambling to catch up.

Unfortunately, even once I got started on the print releases,  it took longer to finish them than I’d hoped. It had been about a year since I last formatted any and between the actual Word file formatting problems and issues I had with the cover files not being approved in CreateSpace, it took almost two months! On the plus side, I now have a decent working knowledge of GIMP photo editing software, thanks to my ex.  He walked me through it for “Connection” (he’d done the print covers for the two “Equals” books) which saved me weeks of agony.

On the plus side, I have a decent working knowledge of GIMP photo editing software now, thanks to my ex.  He walked me through it for “Connection” (he’d done the print covers for the two “Equals” books) which saved me weeks of agony.

I also spoke to a very nice lady at CreateSpace who helped me fix my cover issue AND gave me a very helpful tip about how to avoid those problems in the future.

I am thrilled to finally announce that all three are available now!

Bully & Exit Cover Narrow Black Border JPGBuy Bully & Exit on Amazon

Connection Print Cover - Proof

Buy Connection on Amazon

Trust Cover Final Proof

Buy Trust on Amazon

I finished just in time for Pride, so if you’ll be in Michigan on June 4th, come to Ferndale Pride and get a signed copy!

Flash Fiction Monday – In the Shadows

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“I’m very put out that you won’t tell me who keeps texting you,” Kevin said. There was no mistaking the pouting tone to his voice.

I watched Lucien silence his phone and sit upright, his gaze sliding over me with the barest contact. “I told you, Kevin, it’s nothing important.”

Ouch. I’d be hurt if I thought that dismissive tone and statement were true. Lucien was a damn good actor.

Next to me, Lizette Pond—the producer—droned on about budgets and cutting back on the scale of the film. I should have been contributing, but I was consumed with thoughts of Lucien. Of the way he’d tasted that morning. The fine, golden hairs that dusted the small of his back and the way they caught the sunlight. I was drunk on him still.

“Animal, vegetable, or mineral?” Kevin asked.

The briefest hint of a smile crossed Lucien’s lips. “Definitely animal.”

Last night, I’d edged Lucien without letting him use a ball gag, and after, had to apologize to old Mrs. Schumacher across the hall for the screams.

“Male or female?”

Lucien licked his lips. “Male.”

“Older or younger?” Kevin’s questions to Lucien were growing increasingly demanding, but I trusted Lucien to handle it.

“Older.”

God, I was the worst sort of director, preying on one of the young stars in my latest film, but in truth, we both had plenty to lose. He had to trust that this was more than an on-set fling with the potential to ruin his career. I had to trust he wasn’t using me to get ahead.

It was Hollywood. It happened.

Back hallway. Fifteen minutes. I typed the text with one eye on the screen, nodding at whatever Lizette said. I’d probably regret whatever I’d agreed to, since she was constantly attempting to gut the budget of my film, but at the moment, I didn’t care.

I slid the phone into my pocket and a minute or so later, pressed send. I hoped. I’d gotten pretty good at the technique in the past few weeks. On the floor in front of him, Lucien’s phone buzzed quietly.

He reached down to silence it and I cut Lizette off. “We’re going to break for twenty. Lizette, we can finish this conversation after rehearsals. When we get back, I want to start at the top of the scene.”

I stood and walked past Lucien, so close the fabric of my trousers brushed his upper arm. “And, Lucien, for the last time, silence that phone. I’m getting sick of telling you that.” He’d been ordered to leave it on.

I was the worst sort of sadist, setting my sub up to fail. But we both enjoyed the so-called punishments.

“Yes, Sir.” His tone was deferential enough to please me, but not enough to arouse suspicion.

I sauntered away, threading through the maze of hallways to reach the secret spot where Lucien and I met occasionally. I sent him another text as I walked. I slipped a little something into your bag while you weren’t looking. I expect it to be in place. Clock’s ticking.

With two minutes to spare, Lucien arrived, pink-cheeked and breathless.

“Good boy,” I murmured after I checked to see if he’d followed instructions. I pushed him to his knees and he needed no direction after that. We had to be quick.

I closed my eyes as his mouth moved over me, wet and warm.

I never saw the person waiting just around the corner, in the shadows.


I am afraid this is another one where the plot bunnies ran rampant.  Who’d like to read more of this?

Please visit the flash fic group on Facebook and check out the links to the other authors’ flash fics.

I look forward to seeing you next Monday!

Bourbon Slush

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It’s been beastly hot lately (at least by my standards) and I’m always looking for a way to cool off. With holiday parties approaching, I figured I’d share one of my favorite recipes. The recipe originally came from my aunt but has since been modified. I cut back on the sugar and upped the amount of liquor. It’s definitely potent, but goes down easy, so be warned.

I made it for a Memorial Day party I went to last night and to my surprise people I hadn’t seen in a couple of years remembered the bourbon slush and were thrilled that I brought it.

You can definitely scale the recipe up or down and tweak it to your taste since it’s pretty forgiving, but this is roughly what I did for the party which made a large pitcher.


Bourbon Slush

8 tea bags
2 cups water, boiling
3/4 cup sugar
4 cups water
1 (12 oz.) can orange juice concentrate
1 (750ml) bottle of bourbon (I used Evan Williams)
1 (12 oz.) can frozen lemonade

Steep tea bags in boiling water for 2-3 minutes. Add sugar, additional water, orange juice, bourbon, and lemonade.

Pour into container and freeze.

Remove from freezer and stir. Allow to sit at room temperature 10 minutes before serving if needed.

Doc Brodie Teaser

I didn’t write a flash fic last week or this week. Mostly because I was immersed in the novella I’m planning to release in early June.

It’s an old short story that I wrote a very long time ago. At some point, I made some tweaks to it, but I hadn’t touched it in almost two years. When I finally dusted it off I realized I had the potential for a great novella and in the past seventeen days, gave one of the main characters a new backstory and motivation, and added 19,987 words to bring it to a grand total of 33,122 words. It’s with my betas now and I will release it on June 10th.

I don’t have a cover yet, but I should be able to make that this week so keep tuned for that.

In the meantime, enjoy this little teaser:

Veterinary clinic. Cute cat during examination by a veterinarian.

Brodie Hall yawned and stretched.  It had been a long, slow night at the vet clinic.  That was a good thing of course—fewer animals in dire need of his help was always a good thing—but he was bored and restless.  He rubbed at his eyes wearily, and resumed typing case notes from his previous shift.  He was nodding off at the computer by the time the tech peered in the office door.

“Hey, you’ve got a patient in exam room one.”

“Thanks, Annie,” he said, standing and stretching.  Sometimes he really hated night shifts at the clinic.  Ambrose Roberts, the clinic director and head veterinarian, would be retiring in the next few years. Brodie had been saving up and he was hopeful that by the time Ambrose was looking for someone to buy the practice, he could afford to. He’d be a hell of a lot busier once that happened, but it would allow him to work a shift that didn’t make him feel like a vampire.

“Nothing critical, I assume?”

“Nah,” she said.  “The cat ate something and is puking.  Her vitals are normal though, and she doesn’t seem to be in distress.  Her owner though … the guy seems pretty worried.  He’s sweet, but panicked.”

Brodie nodded, picturing an elderly, widowed gentleman bringing in the cat he’d owned for years.  He straightened his scrubs and swiped his stethoscope from the desk, draping it around his neck.  Brodie was usually good at calming down worried pet owners, and he figured this guy would be no exception.

The veterinarian snagged the chart from the bin beside the exam room doorway before he went inside.  His breath caught in his throat at the sight in front of him.  Rather than an elderly man, the man in front of him was young. Well, Brodie’s age anyway. Attractive, too, if slightly disheveled; his shirt was on backwards and his dark brown hair stood up on one side.  God, he even had black rimmed geek glasses which were more or less Brodie’s kryptonite.

He sat in a chair next to the exam table, speaking softly to the small gray and white tabby.  She rubbed up against his long-fingered hand, and Brodie suddenly wondered what those fingers would feel like stroking him.

Deciding he was clearly beginning to hallucinate from exhaustion, Brodie pushed down that momentary lapse in professionalism and reached for the kitten.  She tilted her head back as he rubbed his finger against the white fur under her chin.  “You’re a pretty little thing.  Yes, you are,” he crooned.

The cat’s owner lifted his head, his brown eyes meeting Brodie’s and widening.  A blush filled his cheeks, and he jerked back.  Now Brodie could see the fine features of his face, the faint cleft in his chin and the bookish handsomeness. Wow.

Brodie smiled reassuringly at the man. “What’s my patient’s name?”

“Uh, Molly,” the man stammered, licking his lips nervously.

“Well, I’m Doctor Brodie Hall, and I promise, I’ll take great care of Molly for you.”

“Thanks,” he said gratefully.  “Um, I’m Grant Murchison.”

“Nice to meet you, Grant. So, this little girl ate something that disagreed with her, huh?” Brodie asked.

Grant nodded.  “Yeah, I woke up to her throwing up.  I rushed her right over.”

“Any idea what she ate?”

“Uhm.”  He blushed again and lifted a plastic bag out of the paper one on the floor, showing the vet a mangled purple silicone sex toy.

Brodie’s eyes widened as he fought back a smirk.  That was a first.  He cleared his throat before he spoke.  “Is that what I think it is?”

Grant nodded, closing his eyes, as if he was trying to shut out the embarrassing truth.  “Uh, if you think it’s a dildo, then yes, you’d be right.”

“That’s … uh, well, I have to say this is a first for me,” Brodie admitted.

The Treehouse

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From a distance, the dilapidated treehouse looked the same as it always had: a scaled-down version of the big house on the property. As he walked closer, Jay could see the broken windows, the peeling blue paint, and the missing shingles.

When Jay Morton and his mom had come to live at the Bridger House in 1986, the treehouse was the coolest thing he’d ever seen. Built on a platform that wrapped around two huge live oaks, it seemed like something out of a fairytale.

Clayton Reed—the eight-year-old owner of said treehouse—had been equally exotic. Red-haired, freckled, and as skinny as his name implied. Not to mention the most creative person Jay had ever run across. They’d bonded over stories; novels, comics, anything they could get their hands on. Jay had loved to fall asleep to the sound of Clayton reciting the fantastical tales he seemed to pull out of thin air.

Although Jay had been forbidden to hang out with the son of his mom’s boss, the boys found ways around the rules by secretly meeting in the treehouse. It was their safe haven. Later, after the Reed family lost their money and the Bridger House began to crumble around them, the boys—now young men—would meet in the treehouse and drink. They’d kissed for the first time in the treehouse and had the first fumbling sexual encounters. The boys had promised to keep in touch when Mrs. Reed abruptly let Jay’s mom go and they’d been forced to move to Charleston so she could find work. After a while, the promised emails and phone calls had dwindled to nothing, but Jay had never forgotten Clayton.

Now, more than twenty years later—Jay was back in the town of Summerville.

When Jay had decided to buy an old house on the outskirts of Charleston and fix it up, nostalgia had led him to look in Summerville. When he realized the Bridger house was for sale he knew it had to be fate.

He’d bought the house sight-unseen. It was a crumbling old wreck and would take an obscene amount of money to fix up, but he had to believe fate had guided him and that it wasn’t some ridiculous mid-life crisis.

Behind him, the crunch of underbrush announced someone’s arrival.

“I had a feelin’ you’d be back here,” Clayton drawled.  Jay’s skin prickled, despite the late summer heat and he turned to face his old friend. Twenty years had done him well. Still freckled and ginger haired of course, but the carrot orange had softened to a reddish blond and his blue eyes were bright in his handsome face.

“Yeah, couldn’t resist taking a look at the old place,” Jay admitted, giving his old friend a lopsided smile. “Hey, by the way.”

“Hey, yourself.” Clayton’s smile was blinding. “What are you doing in town? I couldn’t believe it when I got your message on Facebook after all this time.”

Clayton held up the keys he’d gotten from the real estate agent. “Just bought the place. From the old crab traps in the root cellar to the treehouse out back, the Bridger property’s mine now.”

The open, friendly expression faded from Clayton’s face and with a solid, skull-rattling blow, his fist connected with Jay’s jaw.


It took me a while to write this, mostly because the story kept shifting. As it did, I quickly realized there was a hell of a plot bunny here. Clearly, Jay and Clayton have a story that needs to be told. Who’d like to read it?

Please visit the flash fic group on Facebook and check out the links to the other authors’ flash fics.

I look forward to seeing you next Monday!

 

 

Motherhood

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I can’t tell you the exact moment when I knew being a mother wasn’t right for me.   Sure, I talked about my future children in an abstract way and had baby dolls growing up. My Cabbage Patch doll, April-May, was a faithful companion for many years of my childhood.  I also left her in the window of a hot car on a scorching summer day at the zoo and melted her little plastic head, so I think it’s rather clear the nurturing instinct can be a bit hit or miss for me.

But dolls and imagining the future children I might have with a boy I had a crush on doesn’t really mean much. At various points throughout my childhood, I wanted to be a dump truck driver, The Pope, and an astronaut. Plans change.

In elementary school, I remember being fascinated by two teachers at my school who were a married couple.  Mr. and Mrs. S adored the kids they taught and invited those kids and their parents to their beautiful restored Victorian home for an incredible holiday party every year.   One of my good friends and I even spent the night there a few times.  I doubt teachers could get away with having students stay at their house these days, but I went to a Montessori school and things were a little more laid back in the 80’s.

I have distinct memories of Mrs. S doing laundry and whispering that she couldn’t use the name of the pre-treater or Mr. S would make a big ruckus.  He must have had a six sense about it because he came racing in from the other room yelling “Shout! You’re using Shout! It’s time to shouuuuuuuuuuuut!”  We giggled at him and thought he was the most ridiculous, wonderful adult we’d ever met.  They were both fantastic with kids and I cherish those memories.

I asked my mom once why they didn’t have kids and she answered, “I don’t know. It’s not really any of our business unless they decide to tell us.”  But she did explain that some people had trouble having babies and some people simply didn’t want them.

I was astonished by this concept.  “You can do that?” I asked, unaware that choosing to not have kids was a valid option.  “But, Mr. and Mrs. S love kids! Why wouldn’t they want any of their own?”  I don’t remember exactly what she said, but the gist of it stuck with me. There were people who loved kids who didn’t necessarily want any of their own.

It was a revelation.

Once I was old enough to begin to grasp what raising a child entailed, which was maybe fourteen or fifteen, I realized I didn’t actually want kids.  It wasn’t some thunderbolt moment, just a dawning realization that it wasn’t something I felt any urge for.  People told me “oh, you’ll change your mind.”  I didn’t really argue because it’s the kind of argument that can’t be won.

But I’m 34 and I still haven’t changed my mind.

I spend one day a week with my best friend, Eden, and her family. I love them all.  Her boys are spectacular little human beings and she’s doing a damn good job raising them.  And no, I’m not just saying that because I know she’s reading this. *waves at Eden*

They have bad days and tantrums and meltdowns, of course. They’re six and three so it comes with the territory. But they’re sweet and funny and turning into such interesting people. I am thoroughly enjoying being “Aunt Wagon” to them.

The more time I spend with them, the happier I am with my choice, however.

Motherhood isn’t for me, but I appreciate the women who work so hard at it. I appreciate my friends and cousins who are raising great kids. I appreciate my mom. I appreciate them more for doing something I never could.

Happy Mother’s Day. I hope it’s a good one.

 

 

Delays and Good News

If you’re a member of my Facebook fan group, Brigham’s Book Nerds, or a friend on Facebook, you’ve probably seen me mention that “Push & Pull”–the second book in The Midwest Series–is stalled. I’m at about 30,000 words but getting to that point has been like pulling teeth and I am still struggling to figure out what I’m doing wrong.

The added pressure of knowing that I need to release on a timely schedule (so, hopefully, I can sell enough books and move out of my parents’ house) is not helping.

There are other things demanding my attention as well. The Italian translation of “Equals” will be coming out soon. I am formatting and making covers for the print copies of “Bully & Exit”, “Connection”, and “Trust” and hoping to have them available to sell at Ferndale Pride on June 4th.

Good things are happening and I am certainly continuing to work hard, but I came to the realization that I need to set “Push & Pull” aside for a little while. I’m not hearing Lowell’s voice at the moment and he’s such a wonderful character that I don’t want to shortchange his story. In order to keep the release pressure at bay, I am dusting off an old novella. It’s a funny, sweet erotic romance that I wrote several years ago.

At the moment, it is a solid story of 12,000 words. I dusted it off this morning and plan to flesh it out a bit further and turn it into a novella of roughly 25k.

Working on the new novella feels like a breath of fresh air after the stagnant struggles of “Push & Pull” and I am confident that the story will be ready for release in a few weeks. That will take the pressure off me and allow me to take a sorely-needed break from “Push & Pull.” I will never abandon Lowell and Brent, but I’m going to set them aside for a short while. Hopefully, when I come back, I will know what I need to do to fix the plot problems and finish the story!

In the meantime, there’s a new novella coming your way soon!

Doc Brody and the Big, Purple Cat Toy

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Can a tabby cat with an appetite for silicone toys bring together a lonely computer programmer and a hot veterinarian looking for love?

May Day

Family traditions are big in my family. I’m still mourning all of the traditions we lost when my grandma died, but there are a few we’ve managed to keep intact with some modifications.

Every year when I was growing up, my grandma, mom, and I would go to a local greenhouse that opens on May 1st and closes whenever they run out of plants. I missed the trip on the years when May 1st fell on a weekday. But once I was done with school I took the day off work to go. Now that grandma is gone, mom and I go. Sometimes we invite my dad.

This year was one of the cooler days for the greenhouse trip. As someone who hates hot weather, I was very happy. When it’s already 75 degrees out, it becomes unbearable inside the greenhouse.

We actually visited three different greenhouses and a couple of markets. It was a long but really enjoyable day and a great way to celebrate May Day!

This year I decided to take some photos of the plants that caught my eye. I didn’t bring my big digitals SLR and lenses, but I am quite pleased with the photos I took with my Nexus 5 and I think it did quite well for a phone camera.

You can click on each photo to make it larger and see more detail.

My parents got some flowers to give as gifts, other to keep, and some vegetables for the garden. I helped pick out some herbs. I already used some of the herbs to make lamb patties with a cucumber salad and mint sauce (SO GOOD). And I am looking forward to making mojitos this summer.

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I also picked up a succulent for myself. They’re trendy right now, but I’m not complaining. I’ve always found them interesting and it’s nice to see a bigger selection available. This one is a bit of a mystery. It was in with the jade plants and looks very similar to them. Unlike a jade, it is fuzzy. I checked with the people at the greenhouse and they didn’t have an exact variety name for me. It’s in the Crassula family (Jades are too) but there are over 1400 varieties of Crassula so I’ll probably never figure out exactly what type it is. I’m going to treat it like a jade and hope for the best!

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Flash Fiction Monday – Looking Back

“Damn, this place is better than I remembered,” Kris said, nudging Eric with his elbow. When Eric didn’t respond, Kris turned to look at him. Eric stared over the water, a vacant expression on his face.  “Babe?”

Eric blinked at him. “Sorry, just thinking about our camping trip here.”

“Which one?”

Eric gave him a disgusted look. “You know which one. The one before college, when you got sunburned and stripped down in the tent and had me rub aloe all over you. The one where you begged me to fuck you.”

Kris snorted. “You make it sound like I was the instigator.”

The look grew even more disgusted. “You are always the instigator.”

“I know. And you love it.” Kris gave him a cheeky wink and kicked off his shoes. “C’mon, let’s go for a dive!”

He stepped back to get a running start, and leapt from the rock, bellowing with delight as he dove into the deep, deep water, Eric right behind him. He hit the surface with a stinging slap and his clothes dragged him under as he struggled to reach air. His body was half-numb by the time he surfaced, but the icy water and adrenaline-fueling dive made his blood sing for the first time in far too long.

“You look happy.”

Eric bobbed in the water a few feet away and he swam closer.

“I am. I’ve missed stuff like this.”

“Me too.”Eric leaned in and stole a kiss. “Do it again?”

The hike to the top of the rock warmed them and they dove again, repeating it so many times Kris lost count. Finally, exhausted and starving, Kris collapsed on the sun-warmed rock and pulled Eric down with him.

“Let’s eat.” He dug in his backpack for the lunches he’d packed.  Eric smiled as he handed him a peanut butter and banana sandwich. They ate in silence and it wasn’t until they packed away the trash that Eric spoke.

“I’m glad you instigated, you know. I never would have.”

Kris shrugged. “Why would you have? You had a crush on me, but you had no idea I was attracted to you at all. Hell, I didn’t know it until that trip.”

“No one thought we’d still be together four years later.” Eric inspected a small rock, turning it over and over in his hands.

“It was a long-shot, I guess,” Kris said. They’d had their share of struggles through college. Eric’s insecurity about Kris’ hot, female lab partner. Kris’ jealousy of the new friends Eric made.Living together. But they’d managed somehow.  And now they were graduated and about to start their adult lives. “I mean, best friends to boyfriends doesn’t always work out. And we were eighteen. Eighteen-year-olds are idiots.”

Eric gave him a fond smile. “You’re still an idiot. But I love you.”

“Hey!” Kris tackled Eric and they rolled together on the hot stone, kissing and laughing.

A week of vacation stretched out before them, full of promise, like the rest of their lives together.


If the characters seem familiar, it’s because they are. The minute I saw this picture I thought of Kris and Eric from my short story “Sunburns & Sunsets”. I dislike the term Gay For You, because it contributes to bi-erasure. But I enjoyed exploring the idea of a character who had never been attracted to a guy until he takes a camping trip with his best friend and realizes there’s more than friendship there. Kris is an open, easygoing guy and he’s willing to take that leap. He was a joy to write.

I couldn’t resist visiting them four years later and seeing where they ended up.

If you haven’t read “Sunburns & Sunsets” and would like to, here are the links:

All Romance

Barnes & Noble

Amazon

iTunes

Kobo

Smashwords

Please visit the flash fic group on Facebook and check out the links to the other authors’ flash fics.

I look forward to seeing you next Monday!